We have a 3 fold disease.

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We have a 3 fold disease.

Postby Patrick in Houston » Tue Oct 31, 2006 8:44 am

I'm Patrick, I'm an alcoholic.

This may have been posted before and if so I apologize but I didn't see anything about the nature of our disease so I thought I would post this.

We as alcoholics have a 3 fold disease.

We have a malady of the spirit, meaning we are discontent, bored, irritable, angry, afraid, jealous, lonely, depressed, have self-pity, etc. We are not spiritually fit.

The spiritual malady leaves us vulnerable to the obsession of the mind. We think "one day I will be able to drink and enjoy it". We think "I'll just have one more" and then finally we end up thinking "How did I get myself here in this shape again".

Finally after we succumb to the all powerful obsession we take that first drink and activate our allergy of the body. The "phenomenon of craving" kicks in and we can't stop until we black out, get locked up, lose everything, or go insane.

This is our three fold disease. Without being spiritual fit we will always be vulnerable to the obsession of the mind. Before I began AA I didn't truly understand what was wrong with me and this was explained to me by numerous people and greatly helped me understand my illness.

I hope this helps others as it has helped me.

Thanks for letting me share! :)
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Re: We have a 3 fold disease.

Postby Tommy-S » Thu Aug 23, 2012 8:36 pm

Simple...& that is what works best for me :)
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Re: We have a 3 fold disease.

Postby Hanna » Thu Aug 23, 2012 8:47 pm

Thank you for posting that.
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Re: We have a 3 fold disease.

Postby leejosepho » Fri Aug 24, 2012 5:41 am

Many thanks for finding and bumping up a great 6-year-old post, Tommy! You and I share a love for digging to find all the good info, wherever it might be.

During 12th-Step work with a recovery prospect or newcomer, I tend to describe alcoholism as a two-fold "illness" or condition or dilemma, where we are:

1) "physically challenged" by alcohol and have no control over how much we drink once we get started;
2) then also mentally- or emotionally-challenged and just as powerless to just leave it alone altogether.

And, I get that two-fold description from here:

"If, when you honestly want to, you find you cannot quit entirely, or if when drinking, you have little control over the amount you take, you are probably alcoholic. If that be the case, you may be suffering from an illness which only a spiritual experience will conquer." (page 44)

However, I do not disagree with the OP. I just believe we need to go slowly while trying to help others begin to grasp our overall deal that can often seem completely baffling when we first get here.
=======================
"We A.A.s do not *stay* away from drinking [one day at a
time] -- we *grow* away from drinking [one day at a time]."
("Lois Remembers", page 168, quoting Bill, emphasis added)
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Re: We have a 3 fold disease.

Postby Jaywalker Steve » Fri Aug 24, 2012 5:50 am

leejosepho wrote:During 12th-Step work with a recovery prospect or newcomer, I tend to describe alcoholism as a two-fold "illness" or condition or dilemma...


Pretty much follow the same guideline. I introduce the 'spiritual dimension and solution' once they've come to grips with powerlessness and unmanageability.
Every group has men and women who put too much thought and effort into their daily sobriety and not enough of themselves into their daily living. - Ed B., Akron, OH
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Re: We have a 3 fold disease.

Postby Tommy-S » Fri Aug 24, 2012 9:43 am

Thanks folks

(@ Joe, Yep, there are some gems buried here, and I like to resurrect them, especially when they remind me of the way I was taught :)

This post reminded me of the '3-legged' stool they used to speak of... I suffer a Spiritual, Mental & Physical illness. (Those analogies & visual description are my favorites, as I am a picture sort of guy :)

The lesson I got was my malady was so complex, that just a physical approach, or only a religious approach, or some strictly therapeutic approach was NOT going to be enough. I needed to something that would address all three legs of the stool, lest it collapse.

Fortunately, they also taught me
"... when the Spiritual malady is overcome, we straighten our mentally & physically". (BB, pg 64)


And for a drunk like me, AA has NEVER failed to be the 3 legged solution for my 3 legged illness. AA is a Triple Threat to my Alcoholism, and working the Steps with a Sponsor has paid off like a Hat Trick :)
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Re: We have a 3 fold disease.

Postby Tosh » Fri Aug 24, 2012 12:23 pm

leejosepho wrote:During 12th-Step work with a recovery prospect or newcomer, I tend to describe alcoholism as a two-fold "illness" or condition or dilemma,


I agree with this approach, Lee, since it's easy to describe the physical allergy and the mental obsession.

But I find it more difficult to describe what I mean by the Spiritual Malady. Patrick has beautifully described in the original post how the spiritual malady manifests itself (restless, irritable, and discontented), but that is not what it actually is.

I tend to think of the Spiritual Malady as the Human Condition; we are all - not just alkies - restless, irritable and discontented; life just seems to be inherently unsatisfactory. I think the difference is between alkies and non alkies is that for us, alcohol is a solution to this 'human condition' in the short term, but in the long term it really screws us up and increases the effect of the spiritual malady; aka 'the human condition'.

I'm over-thinking again, aint I? :mrgreen:

But seriously, anyone, can you expand on what is meant by the Spiritual Malady?
Come, come, whoever you are. Wanderer, worshiper, lover of leaving. It doesn't matter. Ours is not a caravan of despair. Come, even if you have broken your vows a thousand times. Come, yet again, come, come.” Rumi (No sniggering from the sex addicts)
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Re: We have a 3 fold disease.

Postby Tommy-S » Fri Aug 24, 2012 12:52 pm

I'll take a go at it, Tosh, with 'the 9 Bedevilments' :

"We were having trouble with (1) personal relationships, we couldn't (2) control our emotional natures, we were a prey to (3) misery and (4) depression, we (5) couldn't make a living, we had (6) a feeling of uselessness, we were (7) full of fear, we were (8) unhappy, we (9) couldn't seem to be of real help to other people -- " (BB, pg 52 Numbering added)


Though these may/are also physical, mental, emotional, they were pointed out to me as symptoms of the Spiritual Malady which I suffered (and this list still can be a useful checklist as I go through my day)

The text continues
"When we saw others solve their problems by a simple reliance upon the Spirit of the Universe (for the me, that's the Power of "Me, Too") we had to stop doubting the power of G O D. Our ideas didn't work. But the G O D idea did" (BB, pg 52)


Grasping hold of the 'basic solution' offered through AA has 'drop kicked' me into a fitness of Spirit I have never known.

Thanks :)
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Re: We have a 3 fold disease.

Postby Tosh » Fri Aug 24, 2012 1:56 pm

Thanks, Tommy.

I don't think my question was fair to be honest. I've just done a search and the word malady appears in the Big Book 6 times.

In the foreword to the 2nd edition.
Page 64 (the only time I could find the phrase 'spritual malady' is used).
Page 92 x 2
Page 138
Page 139

But I think my question wasn't a good one; the Big Book only describes the nature of what the spiritual malady is; i.e. how it manifests; it can't say what it actually is and why we have it because that concept is too complex. It's like that with anything that can't be nailed down like 'Human Nature' or 'Mother Nature' or 'the nature of consciousness'; these things can only be described in vague terms.

And anyway, we don't worry why we're alcoholics in A.A. - I do love that about this organisation - we only need focus on the solution.

For anyone, like myself, that has had therapy or counselling, where it was discussed 'why are we alcoholics?' (and I'm not just talking about the physical allergy and mental obsession) will understand how utterly pointless this train of thought is.

So apologies for the naff question.
Come, come, whoever you are. Wanderer, worshiper, lover of leaving. It doesn't matter. Ours is not a caravan of despair. Come, even if you have broken your vows a thousand times. Come, yet again, come, come.” Rumi (No sniggering from the sex addicts)
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Re: We have a 3 fold disease.

Postby leejosepho » Fri Aug 24, 2012 3:49 pm

Tosh wrote:I'm over-thinking again, aint I? :mrgreen:

Not in my own opinion!

Paige had posted this elsewhere for us today:

(24th August Daily Reflection)

It may be possible to find explanations of spiritual experiences such as ours, but I have often tried to explain my own and have succeeded only in giving the story of it. I know the feeling it gave me and the results it has brought, but I realize I may never fully understand its deeper why and how.

AS BILL SEES IT, p. 313

The fact that we cannot explain something does not mean there is something wrong with thinking about it.

I used to wonder a lot about "restored to sanity" as mentioned in Step Two, and I had to ask, "What previous 'sanity' had I ever even had?"

In reality: " ... glass in hand, we have warped our [own] minds ..." (12&12, Step One)

So, it would seem there is a choice we had always had:

1) To insanely trust in an "alloy of drink and speculation" (page 2) that we could manage our own lives successfully;
2) To sanely "trust in God and clean house" (page 98) in order to actually be "happy, joyous and free" (page 133).

My religious friends seem to believe we human beings (mankind) had been on the right path at the beginning ... but then something changed and now we *all* need restoration ...

... and of course: "... be quick to see where religious people [at least might be] right. Make use of what they offer." (page 87)
=======================
"We A.A.s do not *stay* away from drinking [one day at a
time] -- we *grow* away from drinking [one day at a time]."
("Lois Remembers", page 168, quoting Bill, emphasis added)
=======================
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Re: We have a 3 fold disease.

Postby Tosh » Fri Aug 24, 2012 4:26 pm

leejosepho wrote:The fact that we cannot explain something does not mean there is something wrong with thinking about it.


You know, I've heard there's different types of knowledge. There's knowledge of the intellectual type and then there's 'heart knowledge' (like a 'realisation' or 'light bulb moment').

I think at an easy to understand level, that moment we realised we were alcoholics - I mean REALLY realised it - that's 'heart knowledge'.

Occasionally I see it in meetings when a newcomer shares for the first time and starts off with "Hello, my name is _______, and I'm an alcoholic!" I remember doing just that and the realisation of saying I was an alcoholic for the very first time was quite powerful stuff for me. I love seeing it in newcomers too. But the realisation that I was alcoholic was far more powerful than any intellectual understanding I may have had.

Anyway, I think it's this 'heart knowledge' that's impossible to explain on an intellectual level because it goes beyond mere concepts.

Sorry for waffling; it's late and I should be in bed.

G'night all, though it's probably day time somewhere where you are! :mrgreen:
Come, come, whoever you are. Wanderer, worshiper, lover of leaving. It doesn't matter. Ours is not a caravan of despair. Come, even if you have broken your vows a thousand times. Come, yet again, come, come.” Rumi (No sniggering from the sex addicts)
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Re: We have a 3 fold disease.

Postby Tommy-S » Fri Aug 24, 2012 8:44 pm

Appreciate the input folks :)

Now I am thinking of all the time I spent "trying to figure out my drinking"... I came up with ALL kinds of Reasons.... And Good reasons, too (if you asked me :). But the Big Book described me to a 'T':

"Some drinkers have excuses with which they are satisfied part of their time. But in their hearts they really do not know why they do it." (BB, pg 23)

There were days when I had glimpses that the B S I was shoveling others was just that, though towards the end, I had told and thought this crap so long I actually believed my own 'magnificent stuff'.

It goes on to state, "Once this malady has a real hold, they are a baffled lot. There is the obsession that somehow, someday, they will beat the game. ..often suspect they are down for the count." (BB, pg 23)

I had No idea (before AA) that this 'Malady' (def: Unwholesome or disordered condition) was due to Spirits, (i.e., ALCOHOL).

My first drunk at age ten gave me a 'religious experience' in that I felt whole, I belonged, I fit in, I was somebody (a Fit Spirit)... it was The Golden Moment.

My drinking thereafter was the Obsession to recapture that Golden Moment, through any & all means, and eventually, at any and all costs.

The bodily difference of a "More Switch", my Allergy, ensured I would never control my drinking, guaranteeing I would continue to spiral downwards, out of control.

A mind warped, glass in hand, wondering what was wrong with me, and then pouring some more of that poison into me... and back into King Alcohol's Mad Realm with my traveling companions, The Hideous Four Horsemen, waiting for me to come to again... The Terror, Bewilderment, Frustration & Despair propelling me back to the madness in hopes that I could find that Golden Moment (non-Malady state) again for relief.

(Maybe?... I'm thinking here folks, so don't get too close, something might blow up :)

But understanding the 'why' I am Alcoholic will never change that fact of my life... Happily, today, I know the 'what'... I can't stay sober alone, together we can, therefore, AA works.

Its a great night to be sober :) Thanks
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Re: We have a 3 fold disease.

Postby ann2 » Sat Aug 25, 2012 12:46 am

Tosh wrote:this organisation


I have been following this thread avidly -- the 3-fold nature of our illness is something that completely sums up my problem, which is maybe why it never occurred to me that introducing the problem as two-part would be possibly more useful to a newcomer.

I honestly have so so so much trouble getting my head around the difficulty that some members talk about with the "spiritual angle" -- for me walking into a meeting was a spiritual action, and everything in AA has been part of my spiritual growth. I can't figure out why my body and mind would be here if not for there being a spirit involved. So it was incredibly interesting and helpful to find a new approach, leaving the "spiritual" description out in the beginning.

So anyway -- the reason I am quoting Tosh above is that of all the various synonyms used in our fellowship's language (illness, malady, society, bond, fellowship, conscious contact, etc.) "organisation" seems the most inapplicable :-)

I like how it's described in the long form of Tradition Five "a spiritual entity".

Definitely not objecting to your use of the word, Tosh -- just sharing the thoughts that swirl around reading it.

Thanks all,

Ann
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Re: We have a 3 fold disease.

Postby leejosepho » Sat Aug 25, 2012 5:54 am

Tosh wrote:... I think it's this 'heart knowledge' that's impossible to explain on an intellectual level because it goes beyond mere concepts ...

ann2 wrote:... of all the various synonyms used in our fellowship's language (illness, malady, society, bond, fellowship, conscious contact, etc.) "organisation" seems the most inapplicable :-)

I like how it's described in the long form of Tradition Five "a spiritual entity".

Agreed on both counts.

"We are not an organization ..." (Foreword to First Edition)

We are an organism, an "invisible boat" ...

viewtopic.php?f=18&t=9612&hilit=invisible+boat
=======================
"We A.A.s do not *stay* away from drinking [one day at a
time] -- we *grow* away from drinking [one day at a time]."
("Lois Remembers", page 168, quoting Bill, emphasis added)
=======================
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Re: We have a 3 fold disease.

Postby avaneesh912 » Sat Aug 25, 2012 7:21 am

For me, I was able to associate with the state of being restless irritable and discontented feeling while I was on forced period of abstinence from booze. I was also able to associate with the queer mental twist that precedes the first drink and finally the physical allergy.

Resentment is the "number one" offender. It destroys more alcoholics than anything else. From it stem all forms of spiritual disease, for we have been not only mentally and physically ill, we have been spiritually sick. When the spiritual malady is overcome, we straighten out mentally and physically.
Show him, from your own experience, how the peculiar mental condition surrounding that first drink prevents normal functioning of the will power (Alcoholics Anonymous, Page 92)
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